Hey writers, this is a great idea. Actually, it’s not a bad idea for anyone. You can tweak this contract to your situation. The Best Writing Partner.
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On his way home from a church conference in 1989, Don Piper’s Ford Escort was struck head-on by an 18-wheeler. He was killed instantly — pronounced dead by four sets of paramedics.
But God worked a miracle and sent Don back to a broken body. To date, 34 surgical procedures have taken place. He walks only as a result of miraculous and in some cases medically unexplainable circumstances. During the time he was dead, Piper was granted the extreme privilege of glimpsing Heaven itself.
Ninety minutes after dying, Don Piper came back to life where he faced a long and grueling recovery. Don travels across the country and around the world sharing his amazing story of hope and healing. His message is simple … We can have a better life now and an eternal life someday through faith in Jesus Christ! Don has appeared and shared his miraculous story in numerous national media outlets, including Fox News, CBN, “The Today Show” on NBC and Newsweek.
St. James Anglican Church (Holy Catholic Anglican Church-Anglican Rite) is pleased to announce best selling author and speaker, Don Piper, as its special guest on June 13, 2013 @ 12:00 noon or 7:00 pm.
To come and hear Don Piper’s talk, come to St. James Anglican church on June 13th. Yay!!!
ACFW, ACFW-Kansas City, American Christian Fiction Writers, Author, award winning Christian books, best-seller, Christian Fiction, Christian Love Story, Christian Novels, Christian Romance, Christianity, Christmas Novels, Clean Reads, Dan Walsh, forgiveness, Gary Smalley, Historical Novels, Inspiration, Leave out the parts readers skip, Love, Novels, redemption, Remembering Christmas, Restoration Series, romance, The Dance, The Deepest Waters, The Discovery, The Homecoming, The Promise, The Reunion, The unfinished Gift, Theme of Forgiveness, Theme of Love, Theme of Redemption, Themes of Forgiveness, Writing, writing advice, Writing Tips, www.danwalshbooks.com, www.writingstraight.com
Recently, we were super-blessed at our local Kansas City chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW)! Best-selling and award-winning author Dan Walsh (also an ACFW member) skyped into our monthly meeting from his home in Florida. He spoke about the craft of writing, and answered a few of our questions.
(Psst…hang in there for a HUGE SURPRISE to come).
Dan Walsh writes contemporary and historical novels–mostly love stories and family-life dramas. He’s been called “the Nicholas Sparks of Christian Fiction,” and is often compared to Richard Paul Evans. Currently, he’s working on a novel with Dr. Gary Smalley (family counselor, president and founder of the Smalley Relationship Center and author of books on family relationships from a Christian perspective).
AND…Guess what? Here’s the HUGE SURPRISE!
(I love using this picture of my kids. Hee Hee)
I contacted Dan after the ACFW meeting and he granted me a personal interview! Woohoo! I’m so honored, especially since he’s also done interviews with media such as USA Today.
(Maybe my interview isn’t that big of a surprise since I put it in the title. )
But before we delve into the interview, I’d love to share my story of how Dan Walsh’s books recently impacted my life.
About a week after our ACFW meeting (where I first met Dan Walsh via Skype) I suffered a very painful back/nerve injury. Couldn’t walk for weeks, then only with a walker. During my down time, I turned to Dan Walsh’s novels that I’d purchased on my Kindle. I devoured them like candy for the soul. Read three of them, then bought a few more. His books became my new addiction. I even gave up Candy Crush and that is one addicting game!
Dan Walsh’s books are way better than crushing candy. His fascinating plots and lovable characters stick with you. Sounds cliché-ish, but Dan’s books sucked me in from the first page, captured me, and held me to the last page and beyond.
For days, I lived in Dan Walsh’s novels with these wonderful, believable characters. Themes of forgiveness, redemption, and love cut through my pain and warmed my heart. Like I said, soul candy. With all sincerity, each one of these books blessed me in its own unique way.
And in my condition, grounded and in pain, I didn’t feel like writing. But thanks to Dan Walsh, I was not only captivated as a reader, but also inspired as a writer. Often “Aha” moments popped into my head on how to really write well.
I’m anxious to get to the interview with Dan, but first, take a quick look at a few of his inspirational books:
THE DEEPEST WATERS, based on real events, is an epic tale of a shipwreck and two lost lovers. What began as a fairytale honeymoon in 1857 for John and Laura Foster aboard the steamship SS Vandervere becomes a nightmare when a hurricane causes their ship to sink into the murky depths of the Atlantic. Laura finds herself with the other women and children aboard a sailing ship while John and a hundred other men drift on the open sea on anything they could grab as the Vandervere went down. Suspecting her John is gone but still daring to hope for a miracle, Laura must face the possibility of life alone–and meeting her new in-laws without their son if she ever reaches New York. The Deepest Waters is an emotional and honest story of hope, faith, and love in the face of uncertainty. I read this one without stopping for food or sleep. Actually lost weight this day. Yay. Double blessing!
THE REUNION. Aaron Miller was an old, worn-out Vietnam vet, a handyman in a trailer park. Forty years prior, he saved the lives of three young men in the field only to come home from the war and lose everything. But God is a master at finding and redeeming the lost things of life. Aaron is about to be found. And the one who finds him just might find the love of his life as well. Loved it! I wanted to morph into this book and hug these characters. They were people with real guts, who made me cheer them on, laugh and cry.
THE DISCOVERY. Gerard Warner was not only a literary giant whose suspense novels sold in the millions, he was also a man devoted to his family, especially his wife of nearly 60 years. When he dies he leaves his Charleston estate to his grandson, Michael, an aspiring writer himself. Michael settles in to write his own first novel and discovers an unpublished manuscript his grandfather had written, something he’d kept hidden from everyone but clearly intended Michael to find. Michael begins to read an exciting tale about Nazi spies and sabotage, but something about this story is different from all of Gerard Warner’s other books. It’s actually a love story. This masterfully crafted book was my fav! Good thing I was stuck on the couch because I could not have tolerated setting down my Kindle in the middle of this one.
THE UNFINISHED GIFT. Set at Christmastime in 1943, The Unfinished Gift tells in an engaging, simple style the story of a family, and reminds us of the surprising things that affect powerful change in our hearts–like a young boy’s prayers, a shoebox full of love letters, and even an old wooden soldier, long forgotten. This nostalgic story of forgiveness will engage readers everywhere. Don’t wait for Christmastime to read this one. It’ll make a wonderful Christmas gift, though. A can’t go wrong gift for women and men alike! Wonderful!
THE HOMECOMING is a sequel to The Unfinished Gift. No sooner is Shawn Collins home from the fighting in Europe than he’s called upon to serve his country as a war hero on a USO bond tour. Others might jump at the chance to travel all around the country with attractive Hollywood starlets. But not Shawn. He just wants to stay home with his son Patrick, his aging father and to grieve the loss of his wife in private. When Shawn asks Katherine Townsend, Patrick’s former social worker, to be Patrick’s nanny while he’s on the road, he has no idea how this decision will impact his life. Could it be the key to his future happiness and the mending of his heart? Or will the war once again threaten his chances for a new start? More heartwarming time with already beloved characters. And I loved the historical aspect.
REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS. Rick Denton lives his life on his terms. He works hard, plays hard, and answers to no one. So when his mother calls on Thanksgiving weekend begging him to come home after his stepfather has a stroke, Rick is more than a little reluctant. He’s never liked Art and resents the man’s presence in his life, despite the fact that his own father abandoned the family when Rick was just twelve. When what was supposed to be just a couple of days helping out at the family bookstore turns into weeks of cashing out old ladies and running off the homeless man who keep hanging about, Rick’s attitude sours even more. Still, slowly but surely, the little bookstore and its quirky patrons–as well as the lovely young woman who works at his side each day–work their magic on him, revealing to Rick the truth about his family, his own life, and the true meaning of Christmas. With skillful storytelling, Dan Walsh creates a Christmas story that will have readers remembering every good and perfect gift of Christmas. Another engaging heartwarming read to be enjoyed any time of the year.
And now onto what we’ve all been waiting for: Dan Walsh!
Can you tell us a little about these new books and how that writing relationship came to be? (Sorry, that’s two questions in one)
Dan: Sure Holly. The Dance is the first of four books in the Restoration series I’m writing with Gary. It begins with what might appear to be a normal, healthy Christian family; but appearances can be deceiving. Jim and Marilyn Anderson have been married for twenty-seven years but, in many ways, their family relationship has been built on shifting sand. Like that metaphor Jesus uses in the gospels, throughout The Dance and the other books in the series the “winds and rains and storms” will beat against their house, and it falls. When the book opens, Jim is shocked to find Marilyn has left him, but not for another man. The things that have caused their marriage to drift to the point of collapse are very common things that can happen and do happen in many marriages. But the heart of the story, and the other books in the series (which will feature each of their adult children) is restoration. We will explore credible ways that God uses to mend lives and restore shattered dreams.
Sorry, that was a long answer. Hard to summarize four books in a few lines. The shorter answer to your second question is that Gary had decided he wanted to do another fiction series similar to the wildly successful Redemption series he did with Karen Kingsbury. So he set his team on a mission to find someone who’s writing affected him the way Karen’s did. The outcome of that search led them to me. They gave Gary my first two novels to read. He called them while on a speaking trip a few days later saying he couldn’t put the books down and they had him crying at the end (in a good way). They called my publisher and extended an invitation to me, which I quickly accepted.
Holly: Pretty cool that you made Gary Smalley cry. It’s a goal of mine to make a famous person cry someday. Speaking of making men cry, you write romance, but after reading your books, I’m convinced that men would enjoy your books as much as women would, maybe even shed a few man tears. “They” say men don’t read romance, but besides Gary Smalley, do you find men among your many fans?
Dan: I think many men don’t read romance, sadly, because men don’t typically read books written by women. It shouldn’t be that way, but there it is. And men won’t read a book with a cover that even looks like a book written for women. Which is why Gary and I objected to the direction the publisher wants to go with the Restoration series. We’ve written these books with more of a 50/50 focus, for both husbands and wives. They are deferring to the market reality, which we agree is true, that 80% of fiction readers are women. Hopefully, wives who love The Dance will be able to prevail upon their husbands to read it, too. We’re also aware that many men use Ereaders like the Kindle, so they don’t have the fear of people seeing them read a book with a woman on the cover.
As for my other stand-alone novels, I do get a lot of feedback from men who really love my books (my other covers are more neutral). But still, I would say the ratio seems more like the 80/20 ratio I just mentioned.
Holly: I’m suffering withdrawal symptoms now and am super-anxious to read more of your books. Please share what’s upcoming.
Dan: Book 2 in the Restoration series, The Promise, is finished and due out in September. I’ve finished another standalone novel set in 1962, called What Follows After, due out next spring. At the moment, I’m writing Book 3 with Gary, then I’ll keep writing Book 4 after that. That should keep me busy for the next eleven months. Beyond that, I have one more Christmas novel to write on my contract (I already have 5 more book ideas roughed out for my next proposal, Lord willing).
Holly: Wow, you’re a prolific writer. As a full-time writer, how much time do you spend each day actually writing?
Dan: A typical day for me begins with a quiet time, then I spend about three hours taking care of all the miscellaneous support tasks for my writing life. Such as: emails, social media, marketing and publicity activity, etc. Then I’ll take a short break for lunch and spend the rest of the day writing the next chapter in my current book. So the actual time spent writing is about 4-5 hours.
Holly: Better let you get to writing then! Thanks for agreeing to this interview. It’s been a pleasure and I’m sure my blog readers will enjoy your books as much as I did.
Wow! So cool to interview the famous Dan Walsh. This expert story-teller also shared some gold nuggets of good writing when he Skyped into our ACFW meeting. I must share them.
Dan said, “My favorite writer’s quote is by NY Times bestselling author Elmore Leonard, who said: ‘In your writing, try to leave out the parts readers skip’.”
Wonderful advice! The notes below (from the Skype meeting with Dan) are keys to becoming a really good writer and also are a pathway to nabbing the dream agent:
Beware Your Literary Heroes
More on “the part readers tend to skip.”
This is why it’s critical for us to learn how to Self-Edit, especially how to recognize the Parts Readers Skip.
Recognizing Where and When to Snip (and a little about Why)
Some great books Dan Walsh (and I) recommend:
Dan Walsh’s Closing Tip – Instructions for Test Readers or Critique Partners
Our worst enemy once we think our manuscript is done is not our critics; it’s us, and our craving for compliments. Pick a handful of trusted people who chain-read fiction. Asked them to use both a pen and a yellow marker (or the electronic equivalent). Pleaded with them to write or mark the following:
They will see things as they read, and they will have constructive/negative things to say. It’s up to you to convince them you really want and need to hear it. Then take all that good advice, get out the scissors, and begin to snip, snip, snip. Give your manuscript a total makeover.
Wonderful advice. And now, to end this post on a note of inspiration, Dan gave me permission to re-post one of his blog posts. This one really spoke to me during my recovery from my injury:
Feeling Weak and Overwhelmed? A Great Place to Be
by Dan Walsh
I feel weak sometimes. No, I feel weak a lot.
I wasn’t always like this. For many years, I felt strong and confident. As it turns out, it was an illusion. I was like the Emperor in that Hans Christian Anderson story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” He isn’t wearing anything but, blinded by pride, he doesn’t see it.
Now I do see it, and it’s made me aware of my weakness on a regular basis.
Here’s an example: I’m beginning to write my 10th novel this week. Seven of the other nine are already published by major publishers (Revell and Guideposts). Novels eight and nine are in the pipeline, due out in 2013. I’ve already won three Carol awards (book-of-the-year). All of my novels have received rave reviews in magazines, blogs and on Amazon. I’ve been asked to co-author a fiction series by a mega bestselling author (Gary Smalley). My most recent novel has been optioned by a movie producer who has made several Hallmark films.
You’d think I’d feel confident inside as I set out to write a novel #10. But I don’t. I feel weak. I have doubts about whether I can do it again. What if I can’t? It’s my livelihood now. People are depending on me. What if the well runs dry? What will I do then?
Where does such weakness come from? Was something missing from my childhood? Have I experienced some traumatic things as an adult that have eroded my self-confidence? The answer to both of these questions is “yes.” But that’s not why I feel weak.
The real reason I feel weak, I believe, is a kindness from God. It’s not something I should dread but something I should celebrate. God, in His mercy, has lifted the veil of false confidence and self-sufficiency to help me see my true condition before Him.
By design, I was made (you were made) to walk in a dependent relationship with God. It was Adam’s fall that created the illusion that we can make a success of things on our own. The truth is, God created us for intimate fellowship with Him. This need we have for Him is built-in, intended to continually draw us toward Him.
We are hard-wired for dependence. And that is why we feel weak, when we feel weak. The good news is, because of Christ, the strength we lack is continuously available and in abundant supply. But we won’t benefit from this if we continue to walk in the illusion of strength (or should I say delusion of strength). We must learn the secret Paul learned, learn to become content with this feeling. In fact, woe to us if we ever lose the sense of weakness, because it’s the very thing that draws us near to God.
Here are two scriptures that quickly come to mind:
“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:8-10, NLT)
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:11-13, NLT)
How about you? Feeling weak and overwhelmed lately? Where does your heart go when you feel this way? May I suggest you go where Paul suggests? I’ve tried to make this my habit now, and it’s made a HUGE difference in my life.
Lord, thank you for creating us this way, as dependent needy creatures. Help us not resent it but see it from Your perspective…as the very thing that draws us closer to You. Thank you for every situation–including the difficult people and circumstances–that make us more aware of our need for You. Fill us with your love and peace, and Your strength. Strengthen our grip on Your Hand. Thank you for always being there, day or night, no matter what. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
(NOTE: To read the other posts in this devotional feature of my blog, select “Perfect Peace — Hope for the Weary Soul” in the Category section.)
The Dance – Top Pick from RT Reviews/Released April 1st!
The Reunion – 4.5 Stars/Top Pick from RT Reviews
The Discovery – “A sublime delight that shouldn’t be missed.” – USA Today
Remembering Christmas – CBA, ECPA & Amazon Bestseller
The Deepest Waters – 2012 ACFW Carol Award winner
Thanks again Dan Walsh for sharing so much wisdom and thanks blog readers for stopping by.
Bishop Leo Michael, Blog, Christianity, God, HCCAR, helping, Holly Michael, Holy Catholic Church Anglican Rite, Hope, Mission work, nagapattinam, Of Dust and Kings, South India, tsunami 2004, www.writingstraight.com TE Hanna
T.E. Hanna invited me to be a part of his blog series: Shattered: How God Is Rescuing A Broken Existence. His blog, OF DUST AND KINGS is amazing!
He was looking for an article on mission work, so I wrote NEVER ALONE: WHY THE WORLD NEEDS US ALL. It’s about our work in South India when the Tsunami hit in 2004.
The pictures below are mine from Nagapattinam, South India, about two weeks after the tsunami hit. Please visit OF DUST AND KINGS and check out the stories behind these photos. The teenage girl in the pink dress is standing beside what was once her house. She tells her story in my article over at OF DUST AND KINGS
With all the terror and tragedy lately, I’m pleased to review and discuss an engaging novel, rich with themes of hope, healing, and wholeness.
Crumple Zone, a thrilling novel by Edith Parzefall, subtly but fully embraces the message of Romans 8:28: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
While Crumple Zone is a psychological suspense novel with some bad language and sexual scenes, great messages and complex, intriguing characters make this book a wonderful read.
After losing her job, Lara takes an impetuous trip to Chile. Rick, a questionable hitchhiker joins her in the rented X-Trail. The reader certainly isn’t left behind on this suspenseful, scenic ride across the Atacama Desert.
Truck-driver Enrique, losing his grip on reality, is on the same highway. A crash on Ruta 5 clears away a new route toward trust, healing, and an awakening to the difference between reality and illusion.
In Crumple Zone (and her other books), Author Edith Parzefall successfully brings an admirable depth to her writing. The novel beautifully reveals how a higher power leads people in the right directions, at the right times. The characters aren’t do-gooders set out to save the world; they are flawed people. Difficult situations force them to think outside of themselves and make choices that ultimately bring peace into their lives. And like in real life, characters who choose to remain in their selfish worlds, get left behind to their own devices. I totally recommend Crumple Zone.
Crumple Zone is a read that will stick with you for a long time. I wiped away tears before clicking off my Kindle. Thanks Edith!
Author Edith Parzefall based Crumple Zone on a real accident. In 2008 she visited Chile, supposedly the safest country in South America. Stopped at a red light in their rented SUV, she and her partner were sandwiched between two trucks on the Pan-American highway. An unplanned excursion to the local hospital and the Carabineros de Chile allowed her insights she never meant to gain but wouldn’t want to miss. A new story idea sparked: Crumple Zone
Edith told me that the accident always felt like the hand of God gently rubbing her off errant tracks that made her unhappy and filled with more and more purposelessness. She really brings that into the novel.
Edith studied literature and linguistics in Germany and the United States, worked as an editor, technical writer, team leader and project manager. Now a full-time writer, she strives to combine her two passions: writing and traveling.
Below is a sample chapter from Crumple Zone with photos from Edith’s trip to Chile.
CRUMPLE ZONE EXCERPT
Lara parked at the lighthouse in La Serena. They climbed out and walked along the beach, enjoying the gentle morning sun.
The night before, Rick had made her feel like he wanted her, not just a playmate. More nights like that and she’d be doomed. Except, there was still this nagging feeling. Did he just act the Don Juan, same as he could turn into a caveman or her sex slave?
“Less than three hundred miles to Santiago.” He lifted his head and smiled. “Why don’t you come further south with me? You still have time.”
Lara took a deep breath. “We’ll see.”
He nodded. “Okay. Let’s get going.”
Lara slipped her arm through his as they strolled back to the lighthouse. She didn’t want to let go of the new Rick.
Kids had written names in the dust covering the X-Trail. Maybe they could run it through a car wash somewhere on the way. Lara unlocked the doors with the remote, slipped into the driver’s seat, buckled up, and put on her sunglasses. Off to new adventures and just maybe real romance; an extended dopamine high wasn’t the worst kind of brain xxxx-up.
She smiled at Rick before she backed onto the street running along the beach. Ruta 5 would take them inland again, so Lara kept glancing at the sea until restaurants blocked her view. She steered the X-Trail away from the esplanade.
Lara pulled onto the Pan-Americana and accelerated, heading south toward cooler and more fertile regions. Some high-rises still lined the highway, with hotels, a casino, cabañas.
A red light caught her off-guard. Lara braked hard and brought the X-Trail to a squealing stop. She looked at Rick. “Sorry, I thought we basically had a clear stretch ahead.”
“Yeah, me too.”
A horn blared. Her eyes flicked to the rear view mirror. A red truck growing larger—coming fast, too fast. “Shit!” She focused on the road ahead. All clear. Still the honking. A last glimpse in the mirror and she slammed down on the gas pedal. The car lunged forward.
Something big and white entered her peripheral vision from the left. Deep shit, she thought as the barrel-shape filled the windshield. No time to brake. The horn still screamed at her.
Nowhere to go.
If you like Crumple Zone, and I’m sure you will, check out my earlier blog where Edith Parzefall shares about her book, Strays of Rio.
This novel tells the story of Chris Marcum, a man who seemingly has everything. Chris is religious, but refuses to believe that his faith in God has anything to do with his personal success. So when he’s visited by an angel who challenges him to test his theory by re-living his entire life, he accepts.
Blurb: Chris Marcum was a man who had everything. The perfect wife, the perfect job, and the perfect life. He was also sure his belief in God did not depend on those successes. So when an angel appeared to him on his deathbed with a challenge to prove the depths of his faith, Chris immediately accepted. Relive your life, with no recollection. This time however, without the breaks. What happens when instead of going right, you go left? What if there are no happy endings? How much can a man endure before he hits his breaking point? And what happens then?
My thoughts: Two Ways to Sunday presents an engaging tale of emotional twists and turns for Chris Marcum, who has a chance to live out the “what ifs” of life. It’s a story that takes a deeper look into personal faith and a person’s doings and undoings. Starita delves into the heart of human emotions while keeping the reader involved and wondering, “what will happen next?”. His characters are believable and easy to relate to. The themes guide the reader to explore life’s more profound questions.
Q. 1) Holly: Like your character, Chris Marcum, have you ever had a moment where you realized that taking a different path or not getting the break you wanted would lead you in a new direction?
A. 1) Tom: I got engaged (for the first time) back in July, 2005. That night my cousin and future best man Greg came over with a girl he was on his second date with, Melissa to congratulate us. Life was great. Fast forward two and a half years later to November 30, 2007. I was in the shower, getting ready to go to the bar with a couple of single friends and I couldn’t believe how my life had fallen apart. The week prior I was at Greg and Melissa’s wedding, alone because my engagement had gone done in flames in May, 2006. Even worse, there was a girl who was absolutely perfect. She was beautiful, funny and when I was around her I was happy. The problem was I had met her while I was engaged and we decided to stop talking because there was no future for us. When my engagement crumbled she offered to be there for me as a friend but I was too distraught to do anything except say thanks. When I finally pulled myself out of my misery and contacted her she had already met someone else. Since I met him and he was a great guy I told her that I’d back off and when they broke up I’d be waiting. Well, they wound up getting married. All of these events were playing in my head while I was in the shower. I couldn’t fathom how everything had gone so wrong and even worse, I met someone who could have been the one and blew it. I was just so angry and blamed God for where I was. Then I started looking at the situation and thought how much of this was my own doing. At that moment I realized after years of waiting I finally had my book. I raced out of the shower and banged out four pages. (the hospital scene in the beginning) From there I kept typing because I wanted to see where the story would go. It took almost five years to the day, December 1, 2012 before I could hold my book in my hands and it was worth the wait.
Q. 2.) Holly: So looks like you decided to change your course of life and become a writer. Are you writing full-time, or planning to write full-time?
A. 2.) Tom: Right now I’m an Aflac agent. The problem with the job is its commission only and no benefits. So while I’m looking for a more stable job I’m taking advantage of this time and writing everyday. My dream is to never hear my alarm clock go off ever again. After everything I’ve been through over the last seven years I want to live life on my terms. To be a full time writer would be heaven on earth.
Q. 3.) Holly: Are you currently working on another book? If so, what can you tell us about it?
A. 3.) Tom: I’m currently in the third draft of my second untitled book. That book is from the perspective of the main character and follows him during a portion of his life. He’s selfish, completely unaware and narcissistic so it’s a lot of fun to write. Besides that I’ve been cranking out humorous little essays and since I’m clueless about how the literary world works I’m trying to figure out what to do with them!
Q. 4.) Holly: You self-published. What have you learned from writing and publishing Two Ways to Sunday that you’ll do differently with the next book.
A. 4. )Tom: The one thing I learned is don’t rush the process. I am impatient in general and badly wanted to get published. Naturally that is not a good combination when you’re writing and so I thought after my second draft BOOM it’s finished! Now I know that even when I think the book is done there’s at least two more drafts to go!
Q 5.) Holly: What is your favorite part about writing?
A. 5.) Tom: The complete and total freedom you have. I love how I can write in my apartment or if I want I can go to Barnes & Noble and write in the cafe or if its 80 degrees I can sit in the park and work there. The only limit is the strength of your battery. Plus, you can’t beat working while wearing a hoodie.
Q. 6.) Holly: Describe the typical person who you’d think would most enjoy your book
A. 6) Tom: That’s a great question. My book is obvious religious in nature, so for people with faith they’ll definitely enjoy it. At the same time I have several friends who are atheists and agnostics and they loved the story because they could relate to the character. I think this story has something for everyone, faith, romance, comedy and in the end a good story people can disappear into.
Finally, the one thing I hope my book conveys is a sense of hope. If there’s one thing I’ve learned on the roller coaster I’ve been on for the past seven years is you can endure anything as long as you have hope. It doesn’t matter how bad life gets, the sun is going to rise tomorrow and when it does you have another opportunity to take control of your life and turn things around. It’s your life so take ownership of it, embrace the mistakes and do whatever it is that makes you happy.
Great thoughts and advice Tom. I’m sure your readers will agree. Thanks for popping in today!
Lovely song, sung by church member, Neena Hartshorn. The beautiful scenery was video my husband shot in Estes Park, Colorado. He put the song with the video. Very nice. Moving lyrics, too.
Good to start out the week with an award. Thank you Elizabeth Rose for nominating my blog for the Reality Blog Award. Please visit her site elizabethrosemysteries.com. I came to know her and her blog because she’s the author of a book that has a setting in my hometown, Murder in Death’s Door County.
Those who are lucky enough to receive this award are asked to post the picture of the award on their blog and link back to the person who nominated them.
There are 5 questions that go along with this award so here we go…
1. If you could change one thing, what would you change?
Wow, what a difficult and vague question. About the world? Myself? I’d like every person in the world to at least explore the possibility that Jesus Christ could be the one true God who will bring peace and grace into their life, as well as the gift of salvation and everlasting life.
2.If you have just one book with you on a deserted island, what would it be? The Bible. What else would I say, given my answer above?
3.What is one thing that really scares you?
That because of my own devices, I miss doing things in my life that I was meant to do.
4.What is one dream you have not completed, and do you think you will be able to complete it?
I’d like to see the novels I’ve written get published. Do I think it will happen? Yes. Two of my novels are with my agent and am hoping to hear some good news soon.
5.If you could meet any TV or movie star who is still alive, who would it be?
Denzel Washington. I think he’s a really good guy.
Now, here are a few blogs that I think are worthy (in no particular order)
Come unto me all who are weary, Come unto me all who are weary and I will give you rest, God, God will not give you more than you can handle, help, Jesus, Jesus helps us, Jesus holding his hand from the cross, Matthew 11:28, MRI, pain
My doctor prescribed Hydrocodone and muscle relaxers, and said, “Give it a week and you should feel better.” Eight days later, I wasn’t better. Still in bed, half-dazed from pain meds, I relied on a walker to get from my bed to the bathroom and back, cringing and sometimes screaming with each painful step. Child-birth pains were not as bad as the never-ending spasmatic slashes of pain that shot from my hip down to my toe
It began on Easter morning. I was hiding Easter Eggs for the parish Easter egg hunt. I bent over to hide a plastic egg in the bushes. When I rose, a flash of excruciating pain surged from my lower back to my feet. Or maybe the problem really began four months earlier, when a deer bolted from the field and landed on our Prius, causing about seven thousand dollars in damage and a nagging lower back pain that showed up the next day.
Whatever the cause of my pain, I needed relief. I needed to get off drugs. Even with an absolutely devoted, caring, husband tending to all of my needs, and even doing laundry, I wanted to get out of bed and return to my normal active life. Yes, even laundry. So, I went to have an MRI…
MRI – Yesterday, Nine Days after Easter
“It’ll take about thirty minutes,” the nurse said, as she tightened the Velcro strip around my waist. I bit my lip to hold back the scream as the MRI machine sucked me into its dark hole.
I hadn’t taken pain meds that day and I knew very well I could NOT lay still with the stabbing-knife-jab pains in my hip and right leg. “Be still,” the nurse said. “If you move, I have to start all over again.”
How could I not move? I was scared, desperate. Tears formed in my eyes. The pain was way more than I could bear. I was about to scream, “Help! I can’t do this. STOP! It hurts too much. Get me out of here.”
Instead, I offered a silent cry for help. “Jesus, there’s no way I can take this pain for thirty minutes. Help me. I need you. You said you’d never give me anything that I couldn’t bear. I cannot lie still and bear this pain.” I swallowed the lump in my throat.
In that moment, the pain lessened, not completely, but to a degree that I could certainly tolerate. I remained still, calming my breathing and with a full, grateful, heart, I offered prayers of thanks and love to My God who never lets me down when I call His Name.
Suddenly, a light flashed. “You did it,” said the nurse. As I emerged from the MRI eggshell, I asked, “that was thirty minutes?”
“I know it must have seemed longer,” the nurse said, “but it was only thirty minutes.”
It hadn’t seemed that long at all.
Sliding from the MRI bench into my wheelchair, I was shaking. Not from the pain, but in awe of the amazing Grace I’d just received in the MRI machine. Jesus had shared my pain, as he always does. Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Jesus, Our Savior, suffered so much for us and has promised that He will not give us more than we can endure. I lived that promise during my MRI experience.
“Are you okay?” my husband asked as I was wheeled to the waiting area. “Yes,” I said. “Jesus was with me.”
Today, ten days after Easter, I’m still in pain, but not quite as bad as it was. The MRI report contained a lot of medical jargon and something about tears, bulging, protrusions, and nerve roots. It all spells “INCREDIBLE PAIN.” Got a steroid shot this morning that helped and I’m sure I’ll be fine. Jesus is with me always. Together, nothing is impossible or too horrible with Him. He will never give us anything more than we can bear.
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